In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- The Washington Post published an informative chart that shows that the U.S. farm count rose in the last few years - the first increase in the number of farms in the U.S. since the 1930s. The cause of this back-to-the-land movement has been speculated about by many publications. The Post has a succint synopsis of why farms have come and gone throughout U.S. history.
- In Haiti, two public health organizations are competing in the market of peanut butter nutrition bars. Meds and Food for Kids (MFK) is a smaller group that has been working on their nutrition bar recipe and scaling up production for some time. They shared some of their knowledge with Partners in Health, a much larger global non-profit, who then entered the industry with a larger production facility and more funding. Both organizations are sourcing peanuts from local farmers, and MFK is worried that there is not enough supply to sustain both groups' factories. PIH, a more well-known and financially stable group, claims it is not trying to compete with MFK and that there is more than enough demand to support both organizations.
- Thousands of exported Australian sheep have become the source of some controversy in Pakistan. The sheep were killed after allegedly testing positive for salmonella and other dangerous bacteria. However, an undercover video apparently shows that the sheep were killed cruelly and without regard to the animals' lives. Australian authorities are very upset at these reports. Pakistani officials are offended at allegations that animals were slaughtered in a non-Islamic manner by government workers.
- The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is going into effect in some schools this fall. The Act provides new nutrition guidelines for school lunches and also decreases the maximum calorie allotment per lunch. Some politicians and parents are pushing back against healthier meals because they claim students aren't getting enough to eat at meals. Representatives Steven King and Tim Huelskamp have introduced the No Hungry Kids Act to repeal some of these nutritional changes. Marion Nestle defends the nutritional guidelines on her blog, Food Politics.
- A study from the Providence Journal shows that since 2006, the food service industry in Rhode Island has grown substantially. Jobs in the farming, fishing, and food manufacturing industries have stayed about the same since 2001, but jobs in food retailers and in the bar and restaurant industry have grown. And sales in the food and beverage industry have increased steadily in the last five years. Residents of the state have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of restaurants and retailers in the area.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.